Is the Modern Christian Church a Second Laodicea?

   Written by on October 27, 2016 at 9:58 am

logo-hevenerJohn the Revelator, as described in the Book of Revelation, went into vision on the isle of Patmos when Christ, “the beginning and the ending,” the Eternal One, touched him and told him to write to the seven churches, which Christ then went on to name in Chapters 2 and 3.  Jesus assigns to each of the seven churches an angel, to whom John sends Jesus’ messages. The churches named are:  Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.  The spiritual condition of each church is assessed by Christ. Some churches experience a strong spiritual condition, while others have great spiritual needs.

The church on which we shall focus in this devotional is Laodicea. Laodicea was an ancient city in present-day western Turkey, founded by Seleucid King Antiochus II in honor of his wife, Laodicea.  Laodicea became a prosperous Roman market town on the trade route from the East, famous for its woolen and cotton cloths. The city was an early center of Christianity.  An earthquake destroyed Laodicea, and it has never been rebuilt. Remnants of the ancient city include an aqueduct, a stadium, sarcophagi, an amphitheatre, an odeon, and a cistern. Most of the city remains to be excavated.

Revelation 3: 14-20 reads: “14“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:  15‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. 20‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”

Therefore, we see that the major problem with the Laodicean Church was that it was short-sighted, looking for pleasures of the moment and forgetting about preparing for eternity.

Today, many Christian churches are spiritually lukewarm and are comfortable in their wealth and materialism. Much of the Christian community tends to thinks that because it is rich in wealth and “things,” it is well clothed, both physically and spiritually.  However, Christ tells it that it is spiritually wretched, poor, blind, and naked.  Why?  The people are over-valuing their wealth and “things” and have forgotten that the “love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10.)  They have taken the short-term view of life, practicing hedonism which advises, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die.”  Having largely ignored their eternal future, Christian values have been replaced by secularism, relativism, and materialism.  For a number of years, much of the Christian community has been moving away from God, prayer, and faith, and moving toward wealth, humanism and arrogant human pride.

It would appear that some Christian churches and charities today are in the same spiritual condition as that of Laodicea.  For instance, many pastors receive huge salaries for teaching the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ.  Religion News Service reports that in 2009, Franklin Graham’s salary amounted to 1.2 million dollars. In 2013, the head of Save the Children was paid $452,568; World Vision’s CEO received $477,043, and the CEO of Food For the Poor, received $416,599.  (Information courtesy The Charlotte Observer.)

Now, we return to Laodicea. Christ, seeing that the Laodiceans are on the pathway to eternal death, Christ rebukes them, hoping to help them see their true spiritual nakedness; He calls upon them to “repent,” to turn away from their selfishness, greed, and hedonism; He invites them to open their lives to Him, Who is knocking, wanting to enter with the gift of eternal life.

The Apostle Paul gives the modern church excellent advice in Romans 13:13,14:  “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

Until next week, may God richly bless you and yours!

Contact: fhevener@oilart.com; (434) 392-6255; www.guthriememorial.org.

© 2016 by Fillmer Hevener

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